East of Scotland play-offs: Why Penicuik twitter talk had Bonnyrigg ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’

Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn has claimed his side were given extra motivation for Wednesday night’s East of Scotland title play-off match against Penicuik Athletic by their opponents’ social media coverage in the build-up to the clash.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 6:30 am
Bonnyrigg defender Ewan Moyes wins a header during Wednesdays win. Pic: Ian Georgeson

As Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ and its chorus ‘Woah, we’re halfway there!” belted out from the home dressing-room following Rose’s 2-1 victory over their Midlothian rivals, Horn made reference to the visitors’ Twitter messages following their 3-2 win over Broxburn in the first round-robin play-off match with several posts adorned with the hashtag “HalfwayThere”.

“We are halfway there ...” smiled Horn, ahead of the last play-off encounter against Broxburn tomorrow.

“Football matches are won on the football pitch, not on social media. That absolutely inspired the players – there’s no doubt about it. Social media is a powerful thing and sometimes it comes back and bites you on the backside.

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“The boys are experienced players, who are used to playing in big games and I thought they dealt with the pressure really well until the last five to ten minutes when it was very nervy. Our game management should have been better.

“We are going to Broxburn to win the game. We are going there to try and win the game again. We will see who is fit and available, but we can’t go there and try to sit in and protect. We will go to try and win the game.

“Broxburn wanted us to win to give them a chance on Wednesday and, if they were to win tomorrow, who knows what happens after that? It’s a mental situation to find ourselves in.”

Bonnyrigg visit Albyn Park knowing should they win or draw they will be crowed East of Scotland League champions and, pending their application for an SFA licence being rubber-stamped, they will feature in next season’s Lowland League.

The excitement ahead of this fixture is heightened by the fact both Broxburn and Penicuik could also still be crowned winners. If Broxburn were to win by two clear goals or win by scoring at least three goals, they will be champions. Penicuik, meanwhile, are hoping for Broxburn to beat Bonnyrigg by a scoreline of 1-0 or 2-1 as those scorelines would see the title head their way.

Broxburn Athletic assistant boss Stevie Hislop says the match is the biggest in the club’s history and revealed a bumper crowd – similar to the 1012 who turned out for Wednesday’s match at Bonnyrigg – is expected to attend.

“When we got to training on Tuesday, the boys were flying,” said Hislop. “We just made it fun and light-hearted. The hardest part of myself and Brian’s [McNaughton, manager] job is to pick the boys up but we didn’t have to. I’ve never worked with a set of boys who have such a great attitude.

“[Wednesday’s result] doesn’t make any difference to us – we still need to win the game. It just changes the complexion of what needs done. We need to win the game and, if we don’t, we can’t get promoted. The result on Wednesday worked in our favour with Bonnyrigg winning but that’s all it did. We know we still have to win it and tomorrow will take care of itself. We know the task ahead of us. It’s going to be a huge game. It’s ultimately the biggest game in the club’s history and what a game to play in. I wish I was playing.”

Penicuik will be keeping up to date with action through social media as they host Linlithgow Rose in the King Cup.

Co-manager Tony Begg says his players must clear their heads and focus on ending the season with silverware

He said: “It’s been a great season, we’ve won our conference. We took it to Wednesday and it’s not over yet. Coming in to Wednesday it was in our hands, it’s now in Bonnyrigg’s hands and we are looking for Broxburn to do us a favour then we’ll see what happens. We need to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down.

“Our season is not finished yet. We need to make sure we turn up on Saturday and try and get some silverware now to add to the conference title.”